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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

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Think the Phils have injury problems? Look what happened to Chris Coghlan in FLA:

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100726&content_id=12663932&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

Point 5 is the one that has got me worried. Madsen and Lidge are dubious at best. Yesterday's Lidge performance makes me wonder if they need to pick up a closer instead of a starter. Wondering what other think.

The Phillies have 8 hits this year by batters under 28 yo*. There has not been a player less than 28 in the field all year. I guess that's why they can't bring up Dom Brown.

* Hamels & Kendrick

Told ya getting rid of Milt would work...nothing against the guy but sometimes that's the only way to really rock the boat.

"Point 5 is the one that has got me worried. Madsen and Lidge are dubious at best. Yesterday's Lidge performance makes me wonder if they need to pick up a closer instead of a starter. Wondering what other think."

I agree. I think they need a decent bullpen arm at the very least. Outside of Durbin, they haven't really had anyone who has been consistent. Contreras has been slightly shaky of late but overall decent. Romero has been doing his job against lefties. Madson and Lidge have been inconsistent which is scary for the back end of the bullpen.

Baez and Herndon are basically a waste of space. (Herndon should really be in AAA...not his fault, of course, but there it is.)

Maybe bringing up Mathieson could help. He didn't impress his one inning up in the bigs this year, but maybe that was just unlucky and give him another chance?

The problem is all the good bullpen arms seem to be costing an arm and a leg...Toronto wants a Top 100 prospect for Downs which is a pretty steep price.

Hope RAJ pulls a rabbit out of a hat here and gets us some decent bullpen help somehow.

"...the Phillies finally took out the trash by handing Juan Castro his walking papers."

MEOW

"Think the Phils have injury problems? Look what happened to Chris Coghlan in FLA:"

There seem to be a lot of celebration injuries this year....

I guess the only way to be immune to that is to play for the Pirates or Astros.

:-)

Meow listen here boy...do I look like a cat to you?

NEPP - Dunno. Never saw you in person.

(BTW - the MEOW was meant as a compliment. Nothing I like better than a good put-down.)

I think the Rockies long road trip had them playing a tad sluggish, but let's not discredit that four game sweep. At this point, the Phillies need to start stringing together wins, and it doesn't matter who it is against.

It's incredible how manic the threads on this site are based on whether the Phillies won or lost last night.

Heather, Lidge's current problems can potentially be traced to the celebration after they won the WFC.

He has said that his knee got twisted at the bottom of the pile. It has required more surgery since then, so I'll take his word for it.

The knee also could have affected his elbow, and led to that surgery.

I understand that they get excited about late inning wins, but they're grown men and you'd think they'd learn a little.

There seem to have been a lot of celebration injuries this year with Coghlan and Morales etc. My favorite of all time is Steve Sax breaking his hand while giving high fives.

****(BTW - the MEOW was meant as a compliment. Nothing I like better than a good put-down.)****

I thought it was a vague Super Troopers reference...

****I understand that they get excited about late inning wins, but they're grown men and you'd think they'd learn a little.****

Well, in the case of the WS pile, can you blame them?

Shaving cream pies and dog piles are as lame as anything on the planet. They should be outlawed along with cowbells and jokes about Werth banging wives not his own and the height of third basemen.

If Shane Victorino could hit a ball with a bat the way he zeroes in on a face with a towel full of shaving cream, he'd be in the hall of fame by August. Lame.

And in the words of the immortal football coach: Son, when you get into the end zone, act like you've been there before.

Super Troopers... now there's a movie.

I'd forgotten about Steve Sax breaking his hand. I used to like him until I heard him on Howard Stern. What a racist douche.

JBird, true, true. It's also funny how quickly people's opinion of individual players change based on the game the day before.

If Lidge gaoes through a couple of 1-2-3 innings this week, people here will start singing a different tune.

Bromine Brad does not look very good right now, but he still managed to get 2 saves the last 2 games.

An effective closer is something any playoff team needs, so here's hoping that Lidge uses the last 2 days as a confidence booster along the lines of...

"Gee, I didn't have my best stuff or command the last 2 games and I still managed to get to saves and preserve wins, so I'm gonna be OK the rest of the season."

Confidence matters, especially for someone in Lidge's role.

Officer Eddie: (reading Steve Sax's license) Well well, Steve Sax, from New York City.
Officer Lou: I heard some guy got killed in New York City and they never solved the case. But you wouldn't know anything about that now, would you, Steve?
(Lou and Eddie laugh)
Steve Sax: But there are hundreds of unsolved murders in New York City.
Officer Lou: You don't know when to keep your mouth shut, do you, Saxxy Boy?

Meow's the time for the Phillies to make a run.

Steve Sax is looking at nine consecutive life sentences...

Beerleaguer needs a rimshot.

As I said earlier, the time to decide is now. And after going 6-4 in the last stretch here they are now 2.5 games back in the WC. That's close enough to be buyers, in my book. 3 games in 2 months is do-able. 5 games in 2 months is possible, for the Division Lead.

Q: Who is 2nd in Hits in the NL?
A: Ryan Howard

I like the new Howard. Among the leader in HR, RBI, Runs, Hits, and SLG. And, he has less SO than Games played. Right now, he's better than Pujols.

There is apparently a rapper named Fat Joe. Was anyone else aware of this and why wasn't the board notified?

I liked this comment by Bob Brookover in his piece on Oswalt waiving the no-trade clause only for the Cards and Braves - not so interested in the Phillies:

"It's not apparent what you can buy with $108 million that you cannot buy with $94 million, but one rare item that is attainable in Philadelphia and not in Houston this season is a World Series championship ring."

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20100727_Inside_the_Phillies__Phillies_face_roadblocks_in_making_deal_for_Astro_s_Oswalt.html#ixzz0utCk9Poj

Brad Lidge should start coming out to "Eye of the Tiger". Maybe that will help?

****Right now, he's better than Pujols.****

OPS+
Pujols: 158
Howard: 136

The best way to deal with Lidge is to tell the line up to hit more and score more runs. That way, we limit the amount of chances he comes in. I really do hate mocking Lidge, because he clearly seems to be a class act, but it's like watching a 2 year old playin with a sharp object when he's out there...

Congrats JW for predicting the sweep on Sunday -- you said
" I think the Phils are running into a road-weary Rockies team at exactly the right time, too, so I look for a big series here."

Tonights prediction ??

Look, I'll be the first to admit (as one of Howard's "critics" on here) that Howard has had a great season so far, and been our best position player, easily.

But let's not get carried away and say he's better than Pujols. Please. This is the kind of hyperbole that makes people like me "criticize" (i.e., objectively analyze) Howard. He's a great player having a very good season. Why isn't that enough?

Howard's great and all, but he's no Garrett Jones.

Anyone remember when Bill Gramatica blew out his knee celebrating a first half field goal?

Okay, armchair psychologists, here's one for ya....

How will the Haren trade affect the Diamondbacks this series? Will it be:

A) "The front office has given up on this year and traded our best pitcher, so we might as well give up, too."

or

B) "The front office may have given up on this season, but we haven't."

Or am I over-analyzing?

Jack, for the record, only ONE (1) person has said Howard is better than Pujols, and that came with the caveat "right now".

But Shane didn't look past the "counting" stats he mentioned.

While they have identical BA, Pujols walks far more and strikes out far less, having more than TWICE the BB Howard has, and HALF the K's.

Pujols has been on base 25 more times than Howard, but has scored less runs. That probably has something to do with who's hitting behind him.

Howard has 9 more H, but also 30 more AB. This is probably the reason for the higher RBI total. (Men on base and RISP also affects that. I don't have those numbers.)

Pujols has 2 more XBH.

Simply, at this point in time while Howard is 'holding his own' against Pujols, he's still not as good, and Pujols is a superior defensive player.

I think JW was right on by noting that we ran into a lame Rockies team. Funny how St. Louis came into the Phils series on a hot streak, rolled over us, and then got rolled by the Cubs, prompting headlines like, "Cubs dump slumping Redbirds." We came out of the gate slow for the second half, and have to take each series seriously.

As for the D-Backs, they are clearly sellers (and cellars) right now, having just dumped Haren. And then we get the Nats, with Hamels taking on Strassburg. So we have six winnable games in a row at the moment. I'd say anything less than 4 victories in next 6 would be disappointing, and 5 or 6 victories would be highly satisfying, and would put us within 3 of the division lead heading into August.

Lidge is not inspiring a lot of confidence these days. What an odd year for him. He is dead last in saves (among regular closers), and the Phils are tied for second-to-last in saves in the NL.

What does Lidge's contract for next season look like?

Pujols has been on base 25 more times than Howard, but has scored less runs. That probably has something to do with who's hitting behind him.


Interesting stat given the recent debate about "protection."

"Credit Manuel for the Ibanez-three-hitter lineup, his pseudo-platoon with Ben Francisco and the decision to sit Wilson Valdez in favor of more offense."

2 of these 3 moves were clearly overdue yet Cholly continued to trot Ibanez out there vs. LHP the first 3 months even though he did nothing all season.

As for the Polanco at 3B thing, he was the one who stubbornly insisted on playing Valdez at 2B everyday even though Dobbs was hitting with nonsense about 'signing Polanco to 3B' and that is getting comfortable.

Funny but I thought he won a Gold Glove at 2B last year, had already played there a couple of times already this year, and it would leave Valdez available for roles he is ideally suited (defensive replacement, pitch runner).

Guess it is 'better late than never' but I definitely think another manager would have made these moves a bit sooner.

Something has to be an abysmal failure and stay that way for a bit before Cholly even considers a change.

One thing to be Larry Bowa and be hyperactive in making decisions. Another though to be wait too long on something that likely hurts your team because you aren't placing players in the best position to succeed. That happens too often with Cholly.

Kevin: The Hindenburg on paper.

phlipper: What does that have to do with "protection"? It means that Howard has better hitters behind him. Everyone agrees when you put worse hitters in the lineup, you score less. That's not "protection", that's baseball.

"What does Lidge's contract for next season look like?"

Stupid.

Pujols probably has the best hitter behind him he's ever had, in Matt Holliday, and yet his production (in terms of OPS) is set to be its lowest since 2002.

Phlipper, how does that fit into your "protection" theory? Shouldn't we be seeing Pujols' best year ever, not one of his "worst" (I put that in quotes because Pujols' "worst" year is still better than virtually everyone else in baseball)?

Technically, Holliday is having a slightly better season so far than Werth. Just pointing that out, not chiming in on the "protection" debate.

Now, now, BedBeard, it's possible that LIdge continues to recover from his offseason surgeries and comes back in 2011 with a vengeance.


VOR, outside of Hamels/Strasburg (my bet is it has the highest TV ratings of any Phils' game this season), what are the pitching matchups for the other games?

Also, it's Hanson/Strasburg tonight.

@aksmith: there's also a Heavy B. I usually go with that.


Too bad BAP's poodle is still recovering from the 9th inning yesterday, or it could take care of the cat on this thread.

Also, remember Gio Gonzalez?

He's 9 - 6 with a 3.75 ERA for the A's this season.

He faces off tonight against that former Phil/now Texas Ranger pitcher who's name we're not allowed to mention here anymore.

awh: Your optimism is impressive. I don't know if i'm buying the "injured" or "recovering from injuries" theories on Lidge. Seems more mental these days.

awh; Happ/J.D. Martin, Blanton/Detwiler.

Detwiler is making his 2nd start since coming back from Tommy John surgery. He was shaky on Sunday, not making it through the 4th, though all of his runs allowed were unearned. He was the Nats' top pitching prospect though before Strasburg, and still projects to be a quality pitcher. Probably the only starter they have on the roster other than Jesus who has above-average stuff. But considering it's his second start, he could be great or could be terrible. Total wild card.

Bedbeard, I agree.

"What does that have to do with "protection"? It means that Howard has better hitters behind him. Everyone agrees when you put worse hitters in the lineup, you score less. That's not "protection", that's baseball."

In baseball, the definition of "protection" is:
1. having good hitters batting behind you in the lineup.
2. a plastic cup worn in a jock strap to gaurd ones genitals.

7/6/08: Signed $37.5M extension w/ $1.5M signing bonus. 2009: $11.5M, 2010: $11.5M, 2011: $11.5M, 2012: $12.5M club option w/ $1.5M buyout
Guess he is closing next year too...

We'll probably stick with him in 2012, too. We signed him to be our closer. No sense paying him 1.5M not to pitch.

Wes Chamberlain: "Protection" refers to the impact better hitters behind him has on Howard's production. Howard scoring runs when he's on base has nothing to do with "protection"; it just means that guys behind him are hitting. So of course better hitters get more hits and drive in more runs. That's not the question at hand. All you've proved there is that better hitters equals more runs. That's the whole idea of baseball. Everyone knows that.

The question is whether those guys behind him being better means Howard is producing more himself. And every study that's ever been done says the quality of hitter behind a guy (provided it's not a pitcher) has no measurable impact on production.

Bed Beard, there's always hope. :)

BTW, I was just surveying the SP for all of tonight's games. Here's the roster of former Phillies or Phils' prospects who are
taking the hill tonight:

RoLo - against Hamels
Millwood - for the O's
Myers - for the 'stros
Gonzalez - for the A's
Lee - for the Rangers
Chen - fot the royals
Floyd - for the WSox

Think any of those guys are better than the bottom 3 in the Phils' rotation?

Imagine this:

Halladay
Lee
Hamels
Floyd
Myers

(I couldn't include Gonzalez in the same rotation as Floyd because they were sent in opposite directions.)

Wes: Apparently #2 isn't in general use in Baseball. But it's a good idea as Adran Beltre and Carl Crawford have discovered.

awh: Halladay, Lee and Hamels in the same rotation? Ha. Why don't you put something a little more realistic in there and put down the pipe. We all know there's no way that ever could have happened in the real world.

Not saying Howard's better, but Pujols doesn't have to hit against the shift.

Bail out on Oswalt. I can already see him turning into Andy Ashby when he gets here.

Pujols doesn't hit against the shift because he sprays the ball all over the field.

AWH wrote: "Howard has 9 more H, but also 30 more AB (than Pujols)."

But doesn't LaRussa bat Pujols 3rd in order to give him more AB per year than he'd get batting 4th (like Howard does)?

Jack--
I mostly agree with you, but to say having better hitters behind you has nothing to do with "protection" is a bit of an overstatement.

I would think, without looking up any statistical proof, that having good hitters in front of you is more important for good production, than is having "protection" behind you. You can't drive 'em in if they ain't on base.

I also think that "protection" ends with the batter directly behind you. So Holliday may be more productive than Werth, giving Pujols more "protection". However, Howard scoring more runs could be attributed to the hitters after Werth being more productive than the hitters after Holliday.


I like #3 in JW's post. Other than using Lidge stubbornly in the 9th (and, to be fair, Lidge has gotten saves the last two days as ugly as it was), Charlie has been pushing the right buttons. The platoons have been working, the bench guys have been put into the right spots and have produced, and he's been mixing and matching the middle relievers well. He's generally been doing what managers and coaches are supposed to do: put each guy in the best position to succeed.

It makes moves look a lot better when the player actually executes, but ever since the inexplicable use of Blanton to hit with the bases loaded last week (as one poster called it, the dumbest move in Charlie's admittedly checkered tactical history), he's been making the right calls. At least in my opinion.

Jack, for several hours HLH did exist.

It's fun to speculate, but I was just wondering how good this team would be if THAT was the rotation.

Or, it could have been

H
L
H
Floyd
Happ

HLH + Floyd/Myers or Floyd/Happ and 4/5 "could" have happened - if the Phillies were the Yankees. :)

awh - A guy who has had a declining fastball for 3 straight years, had 4 major surgeries (including 3 to his same knee), and been below average/terrible will suddenly come back with a vengenance?

Amaro's Magic 8-ball - "Outlooks is decidely not so"

Oops, should have said:

HLH + Floyd/Myers or Floyd/Happ AT 4/5

Kutztown: LaRussa bats Pujols 3rd to get him more plate appearances, not necessarily ABs. ABs don't include walks, which is why Pujols has less ABs than Howard. He has 34 more walks than Howard on the season.

They have almost the exact same number of PAs on the season (431 for Pujols, 432 for Howard).

"It also helps that the Phillies finally took out the trash by handing Juan Castro his walking papers."

Man, that is cold.

Pujols doesn't hit against the shift because he's right handed. Duh.

Rob: Howard being lefty and Pujols being righty also means that Howard gets to face opposite-handed pitching much more frequently than Pujols does. Given Howard's drastic splits, I'm pretty sure the advantage he gets from this is more than equal to the disadvantage of the shift.

Thanks, Jack.

Old Phan - you missed the MEOW conversation.

Uh oh, Kendrick is listed as the probable starter vs. the Dbacks on Thursday.

Kendrick vs Dbacks:

.355 .402 .605 1.008, 6.23 ERA, 1.846 WHIP, 12 R, 27 H, 5 BB, 10 K in 17.1 IP.


This is one of the reasons I asked about the matchups.

Kutztown-just saw that.

I'm thinking the Phils take 2 of 3 in this series. Not feeling the sweep like I was against the Rox.

Anyone catch the Fish/Giants game?

Down 4-2 in the 9th, the Giants get men on first and second to lead off the inning.

THe manager bunts them over to 2nd and 3rd, now with 1 out. The score 1 run on a groundout, but then strand the other runner on second to lose 4-3.

That is exact situation we were all arguing that you DO NOT bunt men over - playing for 1 run when you're down two. I know bunting the men over get both in scoring position, but that is just dumb baseball to give up an out while down multi runs.

Jack wrote an excellent post yesterday about playing the matchups in the 9th inning. The post got me to thinking. Lidge has been very effective against right-handers this year, terrible against left-handers. The same is true, albeit to a somewhat lesser degree, of pretty much everyone in our bullpen except Herndon (who is equally terrible against both). The main difference between a closer & other relievers is NOT that the closer pitches the 9th; it's that the closer faces all comers, regardless of handedness, whereas managers tend to play the lefty-righty matchups with all their other relievers.

Yesterday, Lidge faced 5 left-handed hitters in a row & 4 reached base. Conventional wisdom is that he's a head case & he was having one of his typical meltdowns. But I wonder how much of this "mental meltdown" phenomenon -- or Madson's so-called inability to pitch in the 9th inning -- really has a much simpler explanation. When these guys pitch the 8th, their managers are more inclined to use a LOOGY so they don't have to face a tough left-hander. But, when they close, they're asked to face whoever comes up. In other words, there's nothing inherently different about pitching in the 9th inning. What is different is simply the way that managers use their relievers in the 9th inning. The solution is to stop using them that way unless you have one of the small handful of closers who can get both lefties and righties out.

Jason.tp: I don't think that is dumb baseball. Runners on first and second, BOOM, double play rally killer.

Old Phan - He got paid $700k. For a guy who generally has been a mediocre player and hung on despite being a below average player, he has probably made over $10M in his career.

RBI opportunities:

Albert Pujols
431 PA, 47 RBI of 288 on base (149 RISP)
16% of runners knocked in
32% of RISP knocked in

Ryan Howard
432 PA, 56 RBI of 316 on base (165 RISP)
18% of runners knocked in
34% of RISP knocked in

But in the second half of 2008 didn't Madsen take on everyone in the 8th? I don't seem to recall him coming out for matchups very frequently.

While people like to pile on Valdez and the offense is better w/o him starting, but let's not dismiss his contributions this year - including a big double against the Rox on Sunday and his defense has been solid.

MG, according to b-r.com:

$7,888,000 career earnings for Castro.

jason.tp: Are people really arguing that when you're down 2 runs you should give up an out with a bunt? I don't think the numbers bear that out to any degree.

Now... if I'm ahead late in the game? I absolutely bunt there at the bottom of the order so that I can tack on an additional run.

Two different situations. Lots of different factors involved.

jason: I watched the Giants game. But that wasn't the exact same situation we were arguing about. We were arguing about bunting a guy from 2nd to 3rd, which is dumb since there's no risk of a DP in that situation & the runner is already in scoring position. The odds of his getting to 3rd & scoring on a sac fly or ground out just aren't high enough to justify giving up the out.

In last night's game, the Giants had guys on 1st AND 2nd, so only 1 of the 2 runners was in scoring position & there was a risk of a DP if the batter swung away. Plus the Giants were down by 2 runs, with 0 outs & the pitcher's spot due up. So Bochy did what R. Billingsley hates; he brought in a weak-hitting backup to sacrifice (successfully). Torres then grounded out, scoring a runner, & Renteria struck out to end the game & strand the guy on 3rd. Nonetheless, the bunt was the right call there because: (, if either Torres or Renteria had gotten a hit, they would have scored both runs & tied the game.

Jack - part of your argument about protection is that more walks = more runs, and that the increase in walks counteracts the effects of a hitter getting fewer BH/XBH because he's seeing lousier pitches. You categorize that as some kind of an absolute rule which will be true no matter the attributes of particular lineups.

A cleanup hitter, say, will get "pitched around" to different degrees depending on the qualities of the hitters that follow him in the batting order (relative to his hitting ability). The greater the differential between a hitter and those who hit behind him, the more likely he will be "pitched around." Look at the number of times that a #8 hitter gets pitched around to see an example at the extreme end of the spectrum.

Pujols has been on base 25 more times than Howard, but has scored less runs.


In other words, simply getting on base more often via walks does not necessarily turn into more runs.

That probably has something to do with who's hitting behind him.


Pretty obviously true. Hence, whether or not trading off bh/xbh for walks will turn into an equivalent # of runs (i.e., there is no "protection") depends on the particulars of the players/lineups involved.

It is quite possible that this particular Pujols/Howard comparison is merely a sample-size artifact. So I wasn't claiming that it proves anything (unlike how you used small sample sizes of Howard's production when Burrell was struggling as some proof of no "protection" even though though you have no way of knowing if, say, Howard might have produced even more if Burrell hadn't been struggling).

If it is just a product of sample size, then the difference on-base/runs scored ratios would even out over time between Pujols and Howard. However, if that kind of differential persisted, it would tell you that, depending on the productivity of the lineup after a cleanup hitter, their likelihood of scoring after a walk would vary as a function of the productivity of the hitters behind them.

And another point. Whether or not it is true that it is an effective strategy to "pitch around" a batter, it is plainly obvious that pitches will pitch around a batter to different degrees depending on the quality of the batter that follows - which will affect the productivity of the batter that gets pitched around.

You might argue that "protection" has no impact on the # of runs a team scores - but anyone who watches baseball can clearly see that a pitcher's strategy will be affected by whether or not a batter has "protection."

And any manager, hitter, or pitcher, will tell you that "protection" is a functional strategic component of virtually every baseball game.

How did that random colon & parenthesis get into the middle of my last post? Not enough coffee yet this morning.

It great and all that Lidge is still signed for a few more years but I sure as sh!t hope they come to their senses sometime in spring training that he needs to get used to life in the fifth or sixth inning. He is done, it is like watching Turk Sharktooth and Doug Jones and Toby Borland all over again.

awh - There are several seasons where they had no salary recorded because Castro wasn't a regular. He likely had a flex contract that paid him less than MLB minimum but more than just the 30-40k a minor league ball player might make.

My bet is that it is over 10M or close to it.

The solution is to stop using them that way unless you have one of the small handful of closers who can get both lefties and righties out.


The problem here is that Charlie has experienced Lidge pitching like one of those elite closers, and is hoping for him to return to the level where he doesn't have to consider matchups.

And not to discredit Jack's point - but there was an excellent post pre-ASB - I don't recall by whom - that gave a very nice breakdown of splits among receivers to build a good argument for acquiring Downs to create a multi-headed closer configuration.

TheDreadPirate:

Madson strikes out RH hitters at a SIGNIFICANTLY higher rate, and over the last couple seasons, the OPS for LH hitters against Madson has been between 60 and 100 points higher than RH hitters.

That said, he'd been fairly effective against hitters on both sides of the plate since 2007... except he's yet to really find his groove this season.

bap & jason, here are the retrosheet numbers:


Chance of scoring from base, 1993-2007 (excluding 1999).

OUTS__RATE-BAT__RATE-1B__RATE_2B__RATE-3B
0_______0.167_______0.397______0.614______0.842
1_______0.120_______0.266______0.417______0.663
2_______0.070_______0.132______0.232______0.292


You can figure whether the odds increase or decrease if you bunt.

bap/slugga: bunting for an out to move the runners out of a DP, and then grounding into a DP possible ball will still end up with two outs.

I'd rather take 3 chances with two men on 1st 2nd to score 2+ runs, then only get 2 chances with men on 2nd 3rd.

Anyone check the run matrix to see what produces more 2+run scenarios? I'm pretty sure it would be the 0 out 1st 2nd situation.

"remember Gio Gonzalez?

He's 9 - 6 with a 3.75 ERA for the A's this season."

Funny how nobody thought that tossing him into an already questionable trade as, basically, an add on was a bad idea. Nobody said anything about that, right?

smith - I was with you on outlawing certain activities until you indicated posts about the height of third basemen. Like the Carlos Monasterios deal (y'all see that ole Carlos got knjocked in the noggin by a foul ball while he was just sitting there?), talk of a third baseman's lack of vertical giftedness should always be fair game.

Incidently, folks, Pujols has not scored less runs. He's scored fewer.

bap: Excellent post, and I appreciate you taking what I was saying and elaborating on it. I think you're largely right.

However, Madson sprung immediately to mind and my impression, off the top of my head, was that your theory (which again, I largely think is exactly right) might not apply to him, as in most of the last two years (2008 and 2009), he was used as a full set-up man, meaning he was mostly pitching a full inning in the 8th regardless of matchups (so very similar to 9th). A quick check of game logs confirms that at least last year, he was mostly used for a full inning as a setup guy. He also has fairly even splits. So this doesn't explain why Madson had struggled in the closer's role when he has been put there.

For whatever reason, Madson simply has given up HRs at a much higher rate in the 9th inning. Whether you want to attribute it to a small-sample size fluke, nerves, pitch selection, mental deficiency, whatever; Madson has simply given up a lot of HRs in the 9th inning, at a rate far higher than for any other inning, which accounts for almost all of his worse performance in the 9th.

Thanks CJ,

But in 2008, they pretty much let him pitch no matter who was at the plate didn't they? He wasn't really a situational pitcher significantly better against righties or not. I could just be misremembering.

awh: that is helpful, but doesnt specify the times that the situation procudes 2 or more runs.

bunting to 3rd/2nd will score at least 1 run more often, but that is pointless when down 2.

0 out 1st 2nd = 1.178
1 out 2nd 3rd = 1.200

. The odds of his getting to 3rd & scoring on a sac fly or ground out just aren't high enough to justify giving up the out.


Maybe - but the studies supported, in general, sacrifice bunting when one run scored would tie or win a game in the late innings.

My guess, however, is that the really important factor that weighs in against bunting in this situation was that 2 runs were needed.

bap: You really advocate a bunt there? Down two runs you're going to give up the most precious commodity? An out?

I'd never but like that. *Maybe* down one run with a runner on 2nd and no outs I may bunt... but that's about it.

Jack: Yeah, Madson was probably a bad example because Cholly very often uses him in the 8th the exact same way he uses his closer in the 9th. Plus, Madson's usual lefty-righty splits aren't really that dramatic (which, in theory, should make him a good closing candidate).

So I probably took my theory a bit too far by citing Madson as a possible example. But, as a general rule, I still think that much of what gets explained as "lacking the mental toughness to pitch the 9th" is really just a case of a guy not being able to get opposite-handed hitters out & being forced into a situation where he has to face them.

Question for the stat experts.
Madson is being mentioned for giving up more runs in the 9th inning than in the 8th inning.
In general, are there more runs scored in the 9th than the 8th innings (Allowing for the fact that the bottom of bthe 9th is skipped, at least in part, in home wins)??

For all the valid criticisms there are about managers, Manuel is best where the job is most important: he handles players and the clubhouse, and guys want to play for him. Heard this morning on the radio that when Lidge called Oswalt, he mostly spoke about how much he enjoyed playing for Manuel. Say what you will about what may be his excessive faith in players in game situations (yesterday afternoon) or your like/dislike of a move for Oswalt. He can improve (or the Phils can find someone to help him) with some strategic elements, but you have to like hearing that story. Personally, I think it's the manager's most significant job (esp. in today's game).

To plate those runners from first and second would take two singles or possibly one double in three ABs. That is without the bunt.

By bunting, they only needed one single in two ABs. Plus they took away the DP.

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EST. 2005

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